Three Weeks Into The Season, The Tampa Bay Buccaneers Are Leading The NFL In Points Allowed. Trevor Grout And Anthony Pugliese Answer The Question, Can The Current Personnel Be Successful?
By Trevor Grout
Listen I am going to make this short and sweet. This is a team that under Dirk Koetter has the same exact offense they had last season, but while Mike Smith is a great defensive coach this is only his first season here.
This defense showed flashes in the season opener in Atlanta that this could be a very good season for the team as a whole. While they didn’t get any takeaways from the Falcons offense they were able to sack Matt Ryan three times. The Bucs defense were three for four in stopping the Falcons in the red zone as well as forcing the Falcons to go 3 for 13 on 3rd downs (23%).
Since that game they haven’t looked as good obviously against Arizona and Los Angeles, but there are positives. The linebacker core of Lavonte David, Kwon Alexander and Daryl Smith are playing as well together as any linebacker core in the NFL if you ask me.
This team has played three teams in non-Buccaneers jerseys (I don’t count the preseason). So it is going to take time for them to really get their groove going. This is a very talented team with very good veteran leadership.
I am not at all worried following a Cardinals game in which they scored 40 points and were 42 percent on 3rd downs. Nor am I worried following a Rams game where they had 37 points scored and allowed Case Keenum and the Rams to go 50 percent on 3rd downs. They will get it going in the right direction and this week against the Denver Broncos could very well be the game in which they right the ship (Pun intended).
The Bucs have six sacks through three games and one interception (which was returned for a touchdown by Alexander.) Is it frustrating the long plays they are giving up? Sure it is, but give this team a chance before you completely wash your hands of them.
No one expects Dirk Koetter to lead this team to the playoffs in year one, but a turn in the right direction would be a very good thing for the staff, team and organization.
By: Anthony Pugliese
The Bucs defense is not looking too pretty. They have given up more points than any other team in the league up to this point in the season. The best defensive stat the Buccaneers boast is being ranked 15th in the league against the run. That isn’t impressive, and the defense is the main reason for the Bucs 1-2 start. If you are asking do the Bucs have the right men for the job, the answer’s no.
It isn’t a problem that should be completely blamed on the front office. Going into the off season, there were two problems to address on defense; the secondary and lack of a pass rush. To fix the secondary they signed Brent Grimes and drafted Vernon Haragreaves, and to fix the pass rush they signed Robert Ayers and drafted Noah Spence. The pass rush has been improved as a whole, but the line leaves plenty to be desired in stopping the opposing running game.
The pieces that they added in the secondary did help. Grimes has shown ability to be the number one corner, while Haragreaves has plenty of potential. Problem is the were no changes at the safety position. Week after week it Chris Conte can been seen missing tackles and letting the opposition go on by. With the way the secondary as been playing as a whole, it seems like at will. Bradley McDougald hasn’t been much better. The secondary just doesn’t seem to gel with the game plan Dirk Koetter and Mike Davis has in place. So that leaves two options; change personnel, or change the game-plan.
Finding a solution in personnel issues three weeks into the season is a tall order, but something has to be done, even if it’s an in house move. While on that subject, Alterraun Verner hasn’t exactly been the guy they thought he would be after signing him in the 2014 off season. He has been charted as one of the worst cornerbacks in the league by Football Outsiders. Why not see if he is up to a position change?
Moving Verner over to safety could make room for Vernon Haragreaves to jump up in the depth chart and show off his talents opposite Brent Grimes. Jude Adjei-Barimah could become the nickel corner and Johnathan Banks could slide into Adjei-Barimah’s role.
How much worse can it get than being the team that’s giving up the most points in the league and more yards through the air then 19 other franchises?